Shakib Al Hasan salutes fans after win

Bangladeshi cricketer Mohammad Ashraful (right) celebrates with captain Shakib Al Hasan after the dismissal of Ireland’s Ed Joyce during their World Cup group B match at the Sher-e Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka, on February 25. Shakib later paid tribute to the fanatical support from fans after the co-hosts survived an Irish scare to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

By Kuldip Lal

New Delhi: Feb 26, 2011

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan paid tribute to the fanatical support from fans after the co-hosts survived an Irish scare to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

“I don’t think anyone in the world or any team will get this type of support,” Shakib said after his team’s 27-run victory in a must-win game at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium on Friday night.

While a packed house of 25,000 cheered the Tigers inside the stadium, thousands jammed Dhaka streets late into the night celebrating the win by singing, dancing and waving Bangladeshi flags. “I am just overwhelmed with the support we got,” said Shakib. “It was beyond our imagination. With such backing, you become determined to win a game.”

Shakib’s men, who had lost their opening match to India last week, bounced back after being bowled out for 205 to dismiss the flat-footed Irish for 178 in 45 overs. Seamer Shafiul Islam polished off the tail in quick time with 4-21 from eight overs after the top-order had been snared by the spin of Shakib, Abdur Razzak and part-timer Mohammad Ashraful.

The win helped Bangladesh avenge two successive defeats by Ireland in major events, having lost in the Super Eights of the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean and again in the first round of the 2009 World Twenty20 in England.

Bangladesh, who play all their league matches at home, must still beat the Netherlands and at least one — maybe two — of the established teams among England, South Africa and the West Indies to clinch a quarter-final berth.

Shakib said the task ahead was difficult, but not impossible. “A win like this raises our expectations,” the all-rounder said. “There is every chance that our performance level will be higher in the next matches.
“I think we can only improve from here.”

Shakib releaved his side was not downcast after being shot out for a modest total. “Most of the players came to me during the break and said that we would win the match by 20-30 runs,” he said. “The way we won the game it was a real positive for our cricket.

“We did not apply ourselves with the bat. But we won the game by very good bowling and excellent fielding. It’s a very positive sign for our cricket.”

Shakib, aware of Ireland’s weakness against the slower ball, turned to spin after just one over from Shafiul, bringing on left-armer Abdul Razzak in the second over and off-spinner Naeem Islam in the third.

The move paid dividends as Ireland lost half their side for 110 runs, before Shafiul produced a wicket-taking burst to ensure the early gains were not wasted.

While the batsmen made a spirited chase of India’s daunting 370-4 in the previous match, they succcumbed to the tight Irish bowling with opener Tamim Iqbal emerging the top-scorer with 44.

“We batted well against India and bowled well against Ireland,” said Shakib. “Hopefully we will do both well in the other games.”

Bangladesh have a week off ahead of their next match against the West Indies at the same venue next Friday.